Kekaha, Kauai, Hawaii – The State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) issued a 30-year license on three acres of land to the nonprofit Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC). The nonprofit was formed by native Hawaiians to develop economic and cultural projects on Hawaiian Home Lands. Its partner agency, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), will begin construction of a modest enterprise center, representing the only public facility to be located inside any of the homestead areas on the west side of Kauai, which includes Kekaha, Waimea and Hanapepe.
“This is definitely a first, and we’re very grateful to the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a large portion of the funding that will build this facility,” said Lilia Kapuniai, CNHA Vice President and Project Manager. “We are especially grateful for the great working relationship we have developed with the Kaua‘i Community College (KCC), that really began over five years ago in planning and envisioning this facility. Chancellor Helen Cox and her staff have been amazing to work with.”
The facility features 1,182 square feet of enclosed offices and training space, and 1,104 square feet in covered lanai. The original floor plans were donated by KCC based on the Hawaiian programs building located on the college campus.
“Projects at HCDC improve homestead areas by developing facilities and projects that we neither need DHHL to build, nor do we need DHHL to fund,” said Blossom Feiteira, President of the Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands (AHHL) and an HCDC board member. “Just as the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act intended, our trust lands should be distributed to beneficiaries for homestead purposes, and also for mercantile, public purpose and even commercial purposes. The latter are uses that somewhere in the last 50 years, has gotten lost and even ignored.”
The enterprise center will be home to a number of programs including entrepreneurship training, small business lending workshops, and financial education and foreclosure prevention services for West Kauai.
In addition to the enterprise center, HCDC has a number of projects under way, including the Waimea Nui project on Hawaii Island, consisting of commercial enterprises to promote agriculture in the region and renewable energy, as well as a commercial grade solar farm on the island of Kauai in partnership with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Also near ready to open is a beachfront campground known as Kumu Camp, to deliver youth summer camps and retreats for cultural practitioners. Projects that are completed and have been operational for several years include public facility space for nonprofits in Anahola, a Youth Center, and the Anahola Marketplace where economic development programs are working to create jobs.
“All of HCDC’s projects are located on Hawaiian Home Lands, in compliance with the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, as well as priorities enacted by the Hawaiian Homes Commission in January 2012 on the topic of non-homesteading land use,” Feiteira continued. “It’s a great model, that helps DHHL, because we are developing our trust lands through private capital as opposed to trust funds that are needed to address the serious homesteading and affordable housing needs. It’s a win-win for DHHL, and of course it’s what the federal act intended.”